How to improve funnel conversion

Fri May 24 2024

Ryan Musser

Head of Solutions Engineering, Statsig

Ah, the old conversion funnel—where potential customers magically transform from “browsers” to “super fans.”

The conversion funnel is relatively straightforward as a concept. Improving and optimizing it, however, is another story.

As any seasoned growth manager will tell you, in practice, conversion funnel optimization is about as straightforward as Lombard Street.

To help address this, these are some of my essentials and best practices for improving funnel conversion, and how leveraging the right tools can make a significant difference.

A cultural commitment

This first step is incredibly simple: Does your team have a genuine cultural focus and commitment to improving the conversion funnel? If so, you’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle.

This is usually the biggest indicator of a team that can build a successful process, ultimately leading to a successful outcome.

Understanding the conversion funnel

Mostly as a prerequisite before diving into optimization strategies, it's crucial to have a clear grasp of what a conversion funnel is and why it matters.

A conversion funnel represents the stages a customer goes through, from becoming aware of your product or service to taking the desired action. Each stage of the funnel presents an opportunity to engage and persuade the customer but also a chance for them to drop off, making understanding and analyzing each step vital for improvement.

Additionally, a conversion funnel can also be applied to behavior within a product. For instance, once a user has already converted to a customer, conversion funnels can still be applied to further actions, like:

  • Inviting a friend to use the product

  • Successfully using the product for its intended purpose

    • Example: Exporting an image that was created in Adobe Photoshop

  • Upgrading from free tier to paid tier

  • Booking time to meet with a customer success associate

Whatever conversions you intend to optimize, you should first ensure your applications are instrumented to capture these metrics, and this data is accessible to you.

You should also be capturing direct user feedback by talking directly to customers and gathering qualitative feedback.

Author’s note: If you don’t have a clear understanding of your conversion funnel, and are trying to get started, I highly recommend reading Fast-tracking your growth analytics with Statsig.

Six tips for improving your conversion funnels

1. Identifying funnel friction points

The first step in improving your funnel conversion is to identify where users are dropping off.

This requires a sequential analysis of each stage of the funnel to pinpoint areas of friction. Common conversion funnel friction points include:

  • Complicated navigation

  • Unclear messaging

  • Lack of trust signals

  • A cumbersome checkout process

By identifying these issues, you can take targeted actions to smooth out the customer journey.

Funnel optimization inspo: Tavour wanted to ship a simple conversion optimization feature (address autocomplete) but got surprising results.

As an example, let’s look at Statsig’s approach to a solution for identifying funnel friction points.

By defining custom funnels in the Metrics Catalog, you can track user progression through various stages of your product or service, allowing you to pinpoint exactly where drop-offs occur. The platform's funnel analysis counts each step only if all preceding steps occurred for that user in the correct order, offering a granular understanding of user behavior and conversion rate changes at each stage.

This insight enables you to identify and address specific friction points, such as navigation difficulties or checkout issues, ultimately optimizing the user journey and improving overall conversion rates.

a conversion funnel in statsig

2. Streamlining the user experience

A seamless user experience (UX) is the backbone of a high-converting funnel.

Ensuring that your website or app is intuitive, with a clear value proposition and call-to-action (CTA) at each stage, is crucial.

Simplify forms, reduce the number of steps required to complete an action, ensure loading times are minimal, and do whatever else is required to prioritize the needs and behaviors of your users.

Don’t forget: Designers play a critical role in this process; their expertise in creating user-centered interfaces can significantly enhance the overall experience. The easier it is for users to navigate through your funnel, the more likely they are to convert.

Pro tip: If you don’t have the luxury of working with a design partner, consider using pre-built UX themes from sites like GetBootstrap.

3. Leveraging A/B testing

A/B testing is a powerful method to optimize funnel conversion. By creating two versions of a page or element within your funnel, you can compare performance and determine which variation leads to higher conversion rates.

This data-driven approach allows you to make informed decisions about design, copy, and overall strategy. And, just in case you missed it, experimentation are Statsig’s bread and butter. We have built a whole public community around it as well.

Using Statsig, you can test different variations within your funnel and analyze the results. In the screenshot below from an example Statsig experiment result, we can observe the example Square product variation showing a lift in the overall funnel conversion rate. Expanding the demo metrics to examine the entire funnel reveals two key insights:

  • Both the Square and Circle variations show a lift in top-of-funnel DAU (Land Page View Start DAU). However, only the Square variant shows statistically significant increase in end-of-funnel DAU (Purchase Event End DAU).

  • The overall funnel conversion rate improvement for Square is primarily due to the higher conversion from Checkout Event to Purchase Event stages in the funnel.

AB test results in statsig

4. Personalizing the customer journey

Personalization can significantly boost funnel conversion rates. Tailoring the user experience based on customer data, such as past behavior, preferences, or demographics, makes the journey more relevant and engaging.

Personalized recommendations, targeted offers, and customized messaging can all contribute to a more compelling user experience that drives conversions. Some of my favorite tried and true tools in this space:

  • Segment is a customer data platform that helps you collect, clean, and control your customer data. It integrates with various tools to provide a unified view of the customer and enables personalized experiences based on comprehensive data.

  • Algolia Recommend leverages AI to provide personalized product recommendations based on user behavior and preferences. It integrates seamlessly with Algolia's search platform, enabling real-time, relevant suggestions that enhance the user experience and drive conversions.

  • Statsig offers dynamic configs that enable you to show targeted website configurations based on user attributes. By defining targeting criteria and rules, you can personalize content, features, and offers for different user segments, enhancing the user experience and driving conversions.

  • Twilio is a cloud communications platform that enables developers to create personalized customer interactions through messaging, voice, and video. Using Twilio's APIs, you can integrate real-time communications into your apps and tailor messages and offers based on user behavior and preferences, enhancing engagement and conversion rates.

  • Amazon Personalize uses machine learning to deliver individualized recommendations for products, content, and more. It analyzes user activity and preferences to provide highly accurate suggestions, helping to improve engagement and sales.

5. Building trust with transparency

Trust is a critical factor in the decision-making process for customers. Be transparent about pricing, provide clear information about products or services, and display trust signals like customer reviews, security badges, and return policies, etc.

A trustworthy site encourages users to move forward in the funnel with confidence. Common B2B practices include free trials as well.

Related articles on the benefits of transparency:

6. Making it easy to continuously monitor metrics

I know this probably seems painfully obvious to some, but to continuously improve your funnel, you need to consistently track the right metrics and analyze data effectively. If this isn’t a straightforward process, it will be much more difficult to commit to habit and build a culture around it.

To help with this, Statsig's Metrics Explorer provides near-real-time data analysis through an easy-to-use interface. It allows you to create and analyze metrics and funnels, providing a granular understanding of user behavior and identifying bottlenecks in the user journey.

With the ability to define custom metrics, you can tailor your analysis to specific business needs and measure the impact of product changes on user conversion rates. Metrics Explorer's intuitive interface lets you switch between various chart types, maintaining focus while exploring data from different perspectives.

By leveraging this tool, you can empower your team to make data-driven decisions that enhance user experience and drive successful conversions easily and effectively.

viewing metrics in statsig

Author’s note: If you don’t have a clearly defined set of conversion funnel metrics, I’d highly recommend reading Fast-Tracking Your Growth Analytics With Statsig.

Looking Forward

At the end of the day, improving funnel conversion is a multifaceted challenge that requires a strategic approach and a deep understanding of user behavior.

By focusing on user experience, leveraging A/B testing, personalizing the customer journey, building trust, and utilizing analytics, you can enhance your funnel's effectiveness.

Statsig's capabilities in experimentation and analytics provide a lot of the solutions needed to implement these best practices and drive conversions for your digital business, but a genuine cultural focus and commitment to improvement is usually the biggest precursor to a successful outcome.

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